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These books, to be read during the 2010-2011 school year, comprise the master list for the award to be made in 2010. Voting forms will be made available to all Vermont schools and public libraries in spring, 2010, so children can vote for their favorite book. The master list titles have been selected to satisfy the reading interests of children in grades 4-8. Please note grade should be regarded more as maturity levels than reading levels.  To see the complete list click here. Below are titles you can borrow from te Arvin A. Brown Library.

by Candace Fleming.  Illustrated by Ray Fenwick
This is a larger-than-life biography of showman P. T. Barnum, known far and wide for his jumbo elephants, midgets, and three-ring circuses, here’s a complete and captivating look at the man behind the Greatest Show on Earth. Readers can visit Barnum’s American Museum; meet Tom Thumb, the miniature man (only 39 inches tall) and his tinier bride (32 inches); experience the thrill Barnum must have felt when, at age 60, he joined the circus; and discover Barnum’s legacy to the 19th century and beyond. Drawing on old circus posters, photographs, etchings, ticket stubs—and with incredible decorative art by Ray Fenwick—this book presents history as it’s never been experienced before—a show-stopping event!

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Two 13-year-old boys, Arthur and Logan, set out to solve the mystery of a murder that took place some years ago in the old house Logan’s family has just moved into. The boys’ quest takes them to the highest and lowest levels of society in their small Maryland town, and eventually to a derelict amusement park that is supposedly closed for the season.

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Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
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Twelve-year-old Owen Birnbaum is the fattest kid in school. But he’s also a genius who invents cool contraptions— like a TV that shows the past. Something happened two years ago that he needs to see. But genius or not, there is much Owen can’t outthink. Like his gym coach, who’s on a mission to humiliate him. Or the way his Oreos keep disappearing from his lunch. He’s sure that if he can only get the TV to work, things will start to make sense. But it will take a revelation for Owen, not science, to see the answer’s not in the past, but the present. That no matter how large he is on the outside, he doesn’t have to feel small on the inside. With her trademark humor, Ellen Potter has created a larger-than-life character and story whose weight is immense when measured in heart.       –Product Description from Amazon.com

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by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, & Alexis Frederick Frost.

Once upon a time…a princess tried to make a comic. And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how-well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure!  This is the adventure of an eager knight, a sweet-toothed horse, and a magic elf hunting down a gum-chewing dragon, and those reading for the adventure itself will not be disappointed, filled as it is with humor, action, and a great girl-empowering twist.

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Fourteen-year-old Toby Magill, a closeted Food Network junkie, gets a summer job flipping dough at Killer Pizza. Hoping to learn some cooking skills, Toby is optimistic about his new position, and he instantly bonds with his two coworkers. However, the teens soon discover that the establishment is actually a front for a secret monster-hunting organization, and they are the newest recruits. Their focus shifts from making pizza to weapons training and stakeouts as they try to uncover the leader of a pack of grotesque monsters that can transform into human shape and are preying on innocent people. Clearly, this is not the job for which Toby applied. Always the underdog, he has to muster up the courage to take on these frightening creatures.   -from School Library Journal

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Sixth-grader Miranda lives in 1978 New York City with her mother, and her life compass is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. When she receives a series of enigmatic notes that claim to want to save her life, she comes to believe that they are from someone who knows the future. Miranda spends considerable time observing a raving vagrant who her mother calls the laughing man and trying to find the connection between the notes and her everyday life. Discerning readers will realize the ties between Miranda’s mystery and L’Engle’s plot, but will enjoy hints of fantasy and descriptions of middle school dynamics. Stead’s novel is as much about character as story. Miranda’s voice rings true with its faltering attempts at maturity and observation. The story builds slowly, emerging naturally from a sturdy premise. As Miranda reminisces, the time sequencing is somewhat challenging, but in an intriguing way.

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Junkyard, Einstein, Wheels, Pencil, Spider, Hollywood, Spitball, Clips, and
Google-Eyes team up to try to outwit their teacher Miss Breakbone.

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One day in the hot Arizona desert, a gopher snake was spied and then abducted by a fierce and ruthless predator. She was roughly grabbed and taken indoors, forced to live in a small box, a dead mouse thrown at her for food. The gopher snake tried to scare the predator, hissing and rattling her tail, but her captor, a young boy named Gunnar, was not impressed and kept her prisoner despite her threats and pleas.

Gunnar names the snake Crusher and places her in a glass cage alongside his other acquisitions: a small turtle, a lizard and a tarantula. The reptiles can read each other’s thoughts and understand Gunnar’s language, though not always his meaning, and are unable to discern the spider’s thoughts. The turtle, Speedy, and the lizard, Rex, warn Crusher about Gunnar; he is cruel to and ignorant about the creatures he captures, and many have died of starvation in this room. Crusher begins to plan her escape, but the others doubt it can be done and suggest she come to terms with her incarceration.

Crusher soon convinces Gunnar that she is tame. She lets him handle her and is gentle with him, all the while looking for a way out. But Gunnar’s treatment of her and the others is terrible, and his emotionally negligent parents do little to ensure their proper care. Instead they let him bring new reptiles and spiders in as others die and are tossed carelessly out the bedroom window. They allow him to spend his days playing violent video games and abusing the rich and amazing nature outside their door. Still, Gunnar is a lonely and sad kid, and Crusher begins to feel sorry for him. However, she tries not to let her pity foil her plans for escape.

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